6 – Modeling with Shade & Shadow



These videos show the Tonal Design process employed to create ink renderings of some Boats at Gunderson Slough, Fraser River. To learn about this we are using my photos. But of course we can use purpose generated value study images of our own. “Glazing” is making one ‘wash’ , or pass, of texture layered OVER the top of  another to deepen or darken the tones.  “Tiling” is placing one shape NEXT to another to create different tones. Either can be used. Here we use Glazing to make the design objective clear. Of course, both Glazing and Tiling can be used in drawing and painting, especially useful for transparent mediums like watercolor.

Download Images Resource Binder 6 PDF.

A word about materials:  Use archival ‘vellum’ versus transitory ‘trace’. Felt pens can sometimes ‘bleed’ into the areas next to lines over time, especially on vellum due to oil in the paper. So felt pens are ok for practice or reproduction, but prefer to use good, stable ink in a fountain or technical pen capable of very fine marks for permanent work, especially given how much time is involved. Use a straight-edge, like a drafting triangle as a ‘bumper’  for straight lines. But try not to draw harsh drawn lines, rather use dots and dashes to imply lines.

A few other notes on process: A single small drawing, such as that shown in the video takes about one hour. A large drawing, say 24” x 30”,  can take several days. So images with lots of white space, such as sky and water, may be preferred. You will usually work small, about 6” x 8 “ for the same reason of time. In part, this may be why most engravings are quite small. Be patient, consistent and careful and you will have a good result. . Imagine how old-time engravers did something like this to create reproducible printable images for books before photo engraving. The process becomes quite contemplative and relaxing  after a while.

Practice making ink textures such as those shown.  Invent your own ink texturesif  you like and look some others up, such as hatching, cross-hatching, etc., through google or books on the subject. Watch the videos on Tonal Design or Tonal Abstraction to best understand the process.
I have used a photo (taken by myself, so I own copyrights). You might consider this a branch of photography or a hybrid of drawing and photography. But of course you can design your own image, not using a photo. Imagine doing a larger drawing in charcoal or gray felt pens and photo-reducing it.  The important thing is to have clear, defined,  posterized tonal steps. You can translate either mentally or by photoshop into blackwhite in 3 to 4 tonal values.
Look at pointillist drawings by Seurat.

Place pencil register marks in case the image is moved and overlay a sheet of vellum, placing the same register marks on the vellum which are erased later. You might also try drawing over the photo image with light pencil lines that can be gently erased after the final ink-work is very dry.

  1. Identify the lights-whites. All else is texture-rendered on the vellum to about 50% mid-tone.
  2. Identify the darks. Render these to about 85-90% dark tone, best not filled-in to black. To see the darks you will have to remove the underlay image, but there are enough landmarks to be able to find their position.
  3. Check to make sure the tones are clearly a step different from each other. If two tones are too close, the effect appears  ‘muddy’ or undefined. Be interpretive and make overall adjustments for aesthetics.
  4. Finally, clarify the finer details, such as lines, masts, windows, etc. Wait a little while, come back to the work later and make any overall final adjustments for aesthetics.

Here are some related Demonstration Videos, plus a few extras on Fraser River Boats.:

Tonality: The goal is to translate a continuous toned image (like a typical black-white or even color photo) into 3 or 4 tonal values. This can be seen as a ‘posterization’ : The lights give Sparkle. The darks give impact. The mid-tones give subtlety and richness. This creates a ‘tonal design’ versus a mere ‘continuous-toned documentation’. The tonal shapes can be smoothly blended one to the other or ‘posterized’ – suddenly shift one to the next.

Ink Rendering Gunderson Slough Boats 33 Min (1 Of 2) {Aug 4 2020}

Ink Rendering Gunderson Slough Boats 22 Min ( 2 Of 2) {Aug 4 2020}

Shade Shadow Reflection (1 Of 4) {Aug 4 2020}

Shade Shadow Reflection (2 Of 4) {Aug 4 2020}

Shade Shadow Reflection (3 Of 4) {Aug 4 2020}

Shade Shadow Reflection (4 Of 4) {Aug 4 2020}

Fraser River Boats Tonal Ink Textures (1 Of 3)  {Aug 4 2020}

Fraser River Boats Tonal Ink Textures (2 Of 3) {Aug 4 2020}

Fraser River Boats Tonal Ink Textures (3 Of 3) {Aug 4 2020}

Light-Shadow:   Select a light source and with that source in mind, logically create a light surface shape, shaded sides and cast shadows. This is what we normally try to do when shading naturalistically. Several standard lighting situations can be applied, particularly to figures, headforms, buildings, all objects.

Tonality Assignment:  Draw a SIMPLE still-life, e.g. some fruits in a bowl. Shade the drawing using the principles in Figure-Ground and Light-shadow demos. Try to render in only  3-4 tonal values.

Next Session #7: Perspective and other Geometrics

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